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Pedigree Time Machine: Princequillo

With the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) coming up this Saturday, let's take a look back at Princequillo, winner of the 1943 Jockey Club Gold Cup (then contested at 2 miles). He became the sire of Horses of the Year Hill Prince, Dedicate, and Round Table; champion Misty Morn; and influential sire Prince John. Princequillo was leading broodmare sire eight times, and his daughters are responsible for half brothers Secretariat and Sir Gaylord; half brothers Key to the Mint and Fort Marcy; full brothers Bold Lad and Successor; Sham; High Echelon; Mill Reef; Kris S.; and many more.

Edited from The Blood-Horse, August 28 & October 9, 1943:

"*Princequillo, foaled in Ireland, began racing in the United States as a $1,500 plater, continued in the claiming ranks through most of last season, though going up in price. He was imported by his Irish breeder, L. L. (Laudy) Lawrence, was raced first by Anthony Pelleteri, and was claimed for $2,500 by his present owners. He has started 25 times, won 10 races, finished second four times, third five times, and has earned $72,565.

"Cosquilla, winner seven races in France including Prix de Chantilly. Her stud record in France, if any, is not available, and *Princequillo is her only foal by available records.

"Prince Rose will be a somewhat unfamiliar name even to those readers acquainted with English pedigrees. The stallion was foaled in England, bred by the late Earl of Durham, but at his dispersal in 1928 Prince Rose was bought, as a weanling, for 260 guineas by L. Niguet and was taken to Belgium. There he was an outstanding performer, winning four of seven races at two, all of seven starts in Belgium at three, though he was third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamps. As a 4-year-old he was undefeated in five starts, climaxing and ending his career in France in the Prix du President de la Republique, under 133 pounds. He was retired to stud at the Haras de la Bruyere, at Mons, Belgium, where he was considered so valuable that it was reported he had been “nationalized” by the government—that is, he could not be sold or taken out of Belgium. In 1938 he was removed to France, however, standing at the Haras de Cheffreville. He was leading sire in Belgium that year, where he had sired the Belgian Derby winner Joli Ange and the Belgian Guineas winner Chevalier a la Rose, and in the same year his daughter Terre Rose won the Deauville Grand Prix and other races in France, while a son, Pappageno, won the Manchester November Handicap in England under record weight for a 3-year-old in the event."

Retired for the 1945 breeding season, Princequillo eventually stood at Claiborne Farm. The ad above appeared in The Blood-Horse dated March 24, 1956, and reads:

"*Princequillo was the fifth leading money winning sire of 1955 on the General Sire List, was the fourth leading sire on the 2-year-old sire list. He sired an outstanding group of stakes performers. Among his 2-year-old winners was the Garden State Stakes winner Prince John; his 3-year-olds included the prominent colt Dedicate, the champion filly Misty Morn (also named champion Handicap mare); his older horses included the excellent 4-year-old handicapper Prince Hill, and the two-time steeplechase stakes winner Prince Regent. This is just a continuation of an exceptional record–a record which consists of 15 percent stakes winners from winners.

"BUT THAT IS NOT ALL– *Princequillo has demonstrated time and time again that he can sire crack 2-year-olds, horses that mature into leading 3-year-olds, and outstanding older horses. Here is a true classic-type horse. From his earlier crops have come Hill Prince, leading 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old of his crop–named Horse of the Year at 3–and as a Claiborne sire, Hill Prince was among America's leading sires of 2-year-olds with his first crop to race in 1955; Prince Simon, the leading 3-year-old of his year in England; and the crack stakes mares How and Riverina. *Princequillo has sired 17 stakes winners in his first seven crops, plus Prince John at 2, 1955."

Today, three TrueNicks stallions carry Princequillo within three generations (all sons of Kris S.)– Action This Day (TrueNicks,SRO), Arch (TrueNicks,SRO), and Rock Hard Ten (TrueNicks,SRO).

TrueNicks stallions with Princequillo inbreeding within five generations include:

A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) Istan (TrueNicks,SRO)
Aptitude (TrueNicks,SRO) Olmodavor (TrueNicks,SRO)
Bernstein (TrueNicks,SRO) Pleasant Tap (TrueNicks,SRO)
Double Honor (TrueNicks,SRO) Pulpit (TrueNicks,SRO)
Elusive Quality (TrueNicks,SRO) Saint Anddan (TrueNicks,SRO)
Formal Gold (TrueNicks,SRO) Slew City Slew (TrueNicks,SRO)
Grand Slam (TrueNicks,SRO) Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks,SRO)
Indy Wind (TrueNicks,SRO) With Distinction (TrueNicks,SRO)

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Just like a fine wine...

Ofelia 27 Sep 2010 12:56 PM

He passed on soundness and good temperament.

Produced 13% black type winners to foals of racing age.(According to another article)

IMHO, there would have been no Secretariat without Princequillo's influence through Somethingroyal, giving Big Red stamina, soundness, and a good temperament, something which the Nasrullah line was not known for and often seemed to be the cause of their defeats at the track.

Horsefirst 27 Sep 2010 1:41 PM

Thanks Ian, what a gem! One favor...could you list the other stallions advertised at Claiborne. I can read *Nasrullah, *Ambiorix, *Turn-to, Hill Prince, and maybe To Market? What a list of influential names. This ad ran the week before I was born and gives me a time frame of reference instead of just names in a five cross.

makarra 27 Sep 2010 1:43 PM


These are the stallion listed in the Claiborne ad:


Dark Star

Double Jay

Fighting Fox

Hill Prince



Some Chance

To Market


(not a bad line up!)

Ian Tapp 27 Sep 2010 1:57 PM

Just like to remind everybody that Princequillo was a carrier of the Large Heart X-Factor gene according to Marianna Haun. Haun thought this gene was passed along the X-chromosome which passes from father to daughter. In turn, daughters may pass it on to any of their produce. But sire’s cannot pass it on to their male offspring. A certain daughter of Kris S racing in The Lady’s Secret this Saturday is a potential possessor of this X-Factor. How appropriate that both Zenyatta and Lady’s Secret are daughters of Princequillo Hearted Daddies.

Shamfan49 27 Sep 2010 3:54 PM


I dont think that there is a competent geneticist in the world that has not thoroughly dismissed Ms Haun's assertions in her book. They are just not based on the reality of inheritance, especially when it comes to heart size and performance.

Byron Rogers 27 Sep 2010 7:12 PM

Thank you, ITapp!  You may have noticed from my posts in previous blogs that I'm a big fan of Princequillo in a pedigree - big-heart gene or not, he was all about stamina.

Of course we all know that the big P's daughter, Somethingroyal, was the dam of Secretariat; but before she gave birth to him, she teamed up with Turn-to and foaled Sir Gaylord ...who begat Lord Gaylord, who begat Lord Avie, who begat one of my most favorite horses: the magnificent and extremely durable marathoner, Cloudy's Knight, who is still in training for Jonathan Sheppard at 10! Alas, a gelding. :-(

Now here you've left me an opening to ask a burning question that, search as I may, I have found no answer to.  Lord Avie, sire of CK, was 2yo Champion in 1980 but was injured and didn't make it to the TC races at 3.  Sent to stud, he had some good success, especially with his daughters, and was retired at 24 at Lane's End Farm.  Here's the question: is Lord Avie still living?  NOWHERE can I find a record of his death, and he was important enough to merit a paragraph in BH at least.  ITapp, can you find out?  If alive, he'd be 32 now!

sherpa 27 Sep 2010 8:33 PM

It is no wonder that one of the most prolific broodmares of the last 30 years (Weekend Surprise) had Secretariat as her sire and the other broodmare sire of the 20th century, Buckpasser, as her broodmare sire. Basically, she carried Pricequillo's influence with Buckpasser. No surprise we should get A.P.Indy and Summer Squall, among others.

goodwin 27 Sep 2010 9:01 PM

Great bloodlines, Great soundness.  Just take a look at all who descend from him, the ultimate thoroughbred.

Robin from Maryland 27 Sep 2010 10:07 PM


according to wikepedia  Lord Avie is still alive   Year foaled  1978

I used to work on the farm where his sire Lord Gaylord stood   some of the best times of my life

amy 27 Sep 2010 10:24 PM

Thank you for some comprehensive information about Princequillo and his blood line!  He is like a fine wine. It is hard to believe he was a plater.  It seems he had a hard luck beginning, but his quality was finally recognized.  Sometimes it seems that only the horses with agressive temperaments get attention and the accolades.  I always look for Princequillo's blood-line and Secretariat's when I peruse the 'Graded Stakes' winners on the back pages of The Blood-Horse.  Much is made of Northern Dancer and Seattle Slew as Studs.  However, you will note that Princequillo through Secretariat's daughters are frequently the female producers that are major contributing factors to the success of the off-spring out of ND and SS.  Princequillo also stands on his own merits when nicked with those other than the Secretariat and Somethingroyal line.

Thank you again for the background on Princequillo.

Nancy 27 Sep 2010 11:36 PM

Hi sherpa,

Like amy says, since Lord Avie is not listed as dead, I guess we must assume he's still living! The Jockey Club's database also lists him as pensioned (not dead), so without seeing him with my own eyes, I'd say he's probably a 32yo pensioner, presumably at Lane's End.

He was a top class racehorse and good sire, so I'm sure The Blood-Horse will give a fair mention of his accomplishments when he ultimately passes.


Ian Tapp 28 Sep 2010 9:06 AM

And how big was Princequillo? 15h2? Where did we get the idea that a good horse (and/or stallion) has to be over 16h and musclebound?

Pedigree Ann 28 Sep 2010 9:26 AM

I have read about the "engine" (?) in a pedigree, the 6th through 10th?  Would that be the way to concentrate the remarkable Princequillo, if anyone cared these days to try to bring stamina and soundness back?

Would you blend Princquillo with Dynaformer-type lines for that purpose?

Princequillo also sired some jump horses.  

Horsefirst 28 Sep 2010 4:29 PM


There were 7 fillies that were by Secretariat out of Buckpasser mares. If having Secretariat as your sire and Buckpasser as your broodmare sire equated to some type of "magic" you would expect to i) be great runners themselves and ii) be outstanding producers.

Here are the 7

Weekend Surprise - G3 winner & G1 placed; dam of G1SWs AP Indy and Summer Squall, graded stakes winner Welcome Surprise, stakes winner Eavesdropper and stakes placed Honor Grades and Weekend in Seattle.

Hope For All - placed; dam of 7 foals inc G1SW Lacovia

Wife Mistress - placed; dam of 12 foals inc SW Crafty Wife

Department - winner; dam of 11 foals, 5 winners.

Punctuation - unraced; dam of 12 foals, 4 winners

Rose Leaf - unplaced; 10 foals, 8 winners

Stylography - winner; dam of 5 foals, 3 winners

In total these 7 mares produced 71 live foals for 6 stakes winners (8.5%). Take out Weekend Surprise and it is 2 Sw from 57 (3.5%) which is no better than the norm. All this tells me is that Weekend Surprise was a great mare, the best runner bred on the cross, but the cross itself wasn't any passport to success.


Byron Rogers 29 Sep 2010 10:08 AM

Perfect, Byron (re-your reply to Goodwin). Your attempts to communicate reality are appreciated, and are a refreshing change from what appears on so many other sites.

sceptre 29 Sep 2010 6:33 PM

Thanks, Amy & ITapp.  Don't know how reliable Wikipedia would be in this case but was pretty sure BH would at least mention his death.  Wouldn't it be great to see a picture of him at 32!?! hmmm...think I'll suggest it to Anne Eberhardt in her blog.. ;-)

sherpa 29 Sep 2010 9:06 PM

No one has mentioned that John Henry was out of Office Double, by Double Jay.  I recall an article written by the late great Jim Murray, where he poohed poohed everyone concerning the "Blue Collar" breeding of John Henry.  I shouted at the time, "Blue Collar?  Prinequillo was a Blue Blood".

berttheclock 30 Sep 2010 8:53 AM

I believe that Princequillo initially stood at Ellersie (owned ny the Hancocks) and later transferred to their Paris, KY operation (Claiborne). I am away from home and my books for now, maybe someone else can verify.



Rosana 30 Sep 2010 12:43 PM

I have a lot of magazines dating back to 1973.I also have old stud books and racing review books dating back to 1953.I was reading an article about super Sandy Hawly breaking Bill Shoemaker's 20 year old record for number of wins in a year.I was wondering if they are worth money.

ray 30 Sep 2010 12:47 PM

The articles on Princequillo and his accomplishments brought back a lot of memories of when I was a youngster and just getting involved in Horse Racing and Breeding. This was in the early 1940s. I lived in New Orleans, La. Just around the corner from the Fair Grounds and I longed at the time to see the best horses run, but the Fair grounds could only muster up the likes of Fighting Step, My Request and some of William G Helis' runners. Times have changed and N.O. has benefited but I'm living in New York since 1958 and I have had my fill of seeing good horses.

leon Abadie 30 Sep 2010 2:37 PM

I would like to know if the scientific community accepts or rejects Marianna Haun's hypothesis that the gene or genes for the large heart in race horses is located on the X chromosome.

stancaris 21 Nov 2010 5:41 PM


Sorry for the delay in responding here.

At the Pedigree & Genetics symposium earlier this year, four world respected equine geneticists - Dr Jamie Macleod, Dr Emmeline Hill, Dr Steve Tammariello and Dr Matthew Binns, all confirmed that the myth of the x-factor was exactly that....a myth. Three of the four geneticits mentioned above were part of the Equine Genome project that sequenced the horse's genome and Dr Binns co-wrote the original horse genome map.

While there may well be genes associated with large hearts, more specifically left ventricular size and wall mass, and indeed there will be genes that regulate heart stroke, there is no evidence whatsoever in their studies that the inheritance of such genes follows the mystical pattern as described in Marianna Haun's books.

It is romantic to think that the great mare Pocahontas has in some way weaved her magic through the maze of inheritance and recombination of genes, but it just doesn't work that way. Scientists who study heart size are now finding that the sire has just as much of a role in determining heart size of the resultant foal as the mare. As an example, in talking to quite a few of the companies that measure hearts they have mentioned independently that the stallion Tapit is almost homozygous for heart morphology with his colts and fillies getting a similar heart shape to his own. There is no fabled "x-factor" at work.

While I have to applaud her for her belief in something, what Marianna Haun wrote in her books doesn't work how she has described it and it has lead many breeders astray. Heart size and function looks to be polygenic and certainly outside the scope of something that relies totally on the x-chromosome.

Genetics is going to bring a lot of things to the table in the next few years and have a lot of misconceptions and myths like this put to bed.

Byron Rogers 24 Dec 2010 12:08 AM

When this was first written there was 4th horse on the True Nicks site that carried Princequillo in the third generation, Tinners Way.  Since then he has been retired to Old Friends.

secretariat fan 29 Dec 2010 1:09 PM

Hi every one. Up on reading about Princequillo  blood lines.I found  out,that I had the unique honor to handle both  secretariat,and Seattle slew and both horses were related on the maternal side. It was refreshing to know that I had the privilege to handle both amazing race horses.First Secretariat in the fall of 1971 as hot walker for Mr.Lucien Laurin and later Seattle slew to whom a give a bath in the spit box at Saratoga Race course up on wining his second start as 4yold in the summer of 1978 but not as his regular groom

HAROLD ALVAREZ 11 Jan 2011 10:10 PM

I know it's now a few years later, but I wanted to comment on Lord Avie back in 2008 he was 30 years old and there was a picture of him on the internet alive and retired in Maryland I really wish I could remember the name of the farm. I owned one of his sons and I have a granddaughter of Lord Avie.  

Ruthie Brooker 08 Apr 2012 12:59 AM

You must not forget that there is an overlooked direct male line Princequillo great-grandson who resides in the States by the name of K One King.  

beryl 14 Apr 2012 10:49 PM

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